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Greenville Business Magazine

USC Upstate Panel To Address Need for Translators, Interpreters

Feb 28, 2018 09:12AM ● By Kathleen Maris

Maria Monteso, a Spanish instructor at the University of South Carolina Upstate, will present the Fourth Annual Translation and Interpreting Panel discussion at 3:30 p.m. on March 6 in the Tukey Theatre, 150 Gramling Drive on the USC Upstate campus. Monteso said the Upstate has a need for trained interpreters (people who translate spoken messages) and translators (those who translate written texts).

Rachel Hildebrandt will be the keynote panelist at this year’s event. She is a translator who has published German-to-English translations of both fiction and nonfiction works. Joining the panel electronically will be Dr. Miguel Tolosa Igualada, who teaches translation and interpreting at the University of Alicante in Spain, and Estela Alcalá Tello, a translation and interpreting graduate who is known for managing international and multilingual projects.

“When I came to the States, I realized there’s a huge demand for these two professions,” Monteso said recently. “At the same time, I realized it’s constantly needed – translators and interpreters – and especially community interpreters, which are the ones who work for law enforcement, that work for child-advocacy centers, in the schools, hospitals, and so on.”

Monteso is originally from Spain and holds Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in translation and interpreting studies in Spanish, Catalan, English, and German. She is a Ph.D. candidate whose research interests are in education interpreting and pedagogy in translation and interpreting studies. As part of a service-learning class on campus, Monteso has been helpful in translating materials for nonprofit agencies like Hope Center for Children, The Children's Advocacy Center, ReGenesis, and Piedmont Care, as well as Sherman College of Chiropractic and the Spartanburg County Public Libraries.

Monteso said that currently, many interpreting jobs are held by people who, while they might be bilingual, have no formal training in either interpreting or translating.

She also discovered that no Palmetto State college or university offers a degree program for either discipline; the closest, she said, is the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

“I said I would like to start something – this is my passion, this is everything that I’ve done so far, so let me bring something new to USC Upstate,” she said. “I started with this panel as an informative panel, just to raise awareness.”

Monteso said she now teaches the only two classes at USC Upstate that address the topic: one is an introduction to translating; the other is an introduction to interpreting.

“That doesn’t mean that, after taking these courses, you are a translator or an interpreter,” she said. “I’m just giving you a little information on how these professions work. Being bilingual is not the same. These are professions. It’s a skill that you have to develop and work on.”

Answering the need for translators and interpreters can be a lucrative calling, she said.

“These two professions can be applied to absolutely anything, from business to health care to computer systems. Everything is translated and everything can be interpreted in meetings when there are different cultures and they are talking to each other. It’s like being the bridge between cultures.”

The public is invited to the panel discussion, which will be free.